Shit. Ow.

This happens all the time.

Like many people who were born with the curse of imperfect eyesight, I wear contact lenses and enjoy their practicality while at the same time suffering through the unique burdens they bring to my life.

For example, situations that I like to call ‘Painful Installation Moments.’

From time to time, for no apparent reason, it will hurt like hell to put your contact in your eye.

Every other day of the week it will be fine and you don’t even notice that they are there, but because of a shift in weather or dehydration or an eyelash that’s out of place or the relative positions of Neptune and Venus on that particular day, it’s torturous to go through the same motions you perform most days without incident.

And really, is there a worse kind of torture than eye torture?

Actually, yes. There is.

Routines in general can become painful over time, and just because you don’t notice them most of the time doesn’t mean that you won’t become aware of their presence once or twice a month and feel like someone is taking an icepick to your retina.

These routines are helpful, sure, but are they the only solution to the problems they’re meant to solve? It seems to me that if something is causing you enough discomfort to be noticeable, even if only irregularly, it’s worth looking into alternatives.

In the case of my contacts, I’ve been doing research into different kinds of laser eye surgery for quite a while, and I’m waiting for the right moment to pull the trigger (when I’ll be in a country with cheap but effective services, will have some time to stick around and do a followup exam, etc). In the meantime I’m doing my best to stack the deck so that right moment will come to pass sooner rather than later (I am in Asia, one of the better places to get this kind of work done, so we’ll see if I can make it happen this year).

Think about this the next time you find yourself chafing under the burden of routine. If your system is imperfect, why not investigate other solutions?

The worst that can happen is that you’ll find there are risks involved with the alternatives (getting laser eye surgery, for example, involves many risks) and you’ll have one more decision to make.

But that decision could mean the difference between a lifetime of eye torture and the possibility of waking up in the morning being able to see. Taking responsibility for your own destiny leads to a better outcome, while just riding the winds of chance will seldom lead to an optimal end result.

Always choose carefully between your options, but before you can do that you’ll have to make sure that you have options to choose from.

Update: February 1, 2017

I still haven’t gotten my eyes lasered. Partially because my traveling hasn’t really allowed for it, and partially because in the back of my mind, I’m hoping against hope that stem cell treatments (or some other regenerative rather than subtractive) will be made available soon. I assumed it would have happened by now, though, so maybe I’d better lay that dream to rest for the immediate future.